Steve and I met by necessity. We both lived on the same street. We both had daughters the same age and in the same class during preschool. And we were both stay-at-home dads. We came to lean on each other quite a bit and our daughters became good friends. We both kind of bumbled around as stay-at-home dads, but we each knew that if the other needed help watching the kids a phone call was all that was needed to get out of a jam. We never kept score because you always knew you’d need help at some point in time.
I used to talk surfing with him because I knew he’d get excited about it and I enjoyed our conversations. And when it seems like you spend the entire day w/ kids, talking to another adult can be quite therapeutic. Talking to another dad with similar interests while hanging out in a female dominant “work place” was even better.
Early on I’d heard of Steve’s alter ego, Steve the Dream. No matter how well someone could describe it, you had to experience it. I used to joke around that Steve the Dream was an overly caffeinated character. Steve was truly in his glory when he could entertain. As I got used to seeing him working his gigs around town I’d intentionally stop by the DJ booth to give him a little extra fodder. He never turned it down. Steve loved to entertain.
Steve was a sweet man. Some men wouldn’t like that description but Steve wouldn’t mind. He’d give me a hug just for the heck of it. I would always laugh. Not because I thought it was silly, but because I thought it was unnecessary. We loved each other like brothers. I thought it was a given. He felt compelled to show it every now and again.
I think what it boiled down to is that Steve knew every day was a blessing and he wanted to show that to everyone. He adored his children and he enjoyed taking them where ever they needed to go. He loved living near the beach and I think he tried to treasure it every day. Maybe it was looking for shells or, hopefully, it was to catch a wave.
Occasionally, he’d allude to a past that he wasn’t too proud of. But that’s what was so great about Steve. He wasn’t afraid to admit his mistakes. He knew he was in a much better place and there was a certain contentedness he enjoyed, despite the stress of getting his girls to the right place at the correct time. He sang at the church, enjoyed being a part of it, and jumped at opportunities to volunteer.
As of this writing I know that Steve Thomas died while surfing today. There are questions but the end result remains the same. He died doing something he loved. Steve wanted to be a beach bum. He told me this more than once. There was no shame in it. He desired a life of collecting shells and surfing waves. If he had died when he was 85 we would all have thought, “good for him”. However, we are all left to wonder how we will press forward. I say not to worry, the Lord will provide. Because Steve’s in heaven now and he gets to sing in the greatest choir, 24/7. And he’s thrilled to do it. Steve, save me a spot.